State gives sheriff’s office lidar unit

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Mower County Sheriff’s Office got a roughly $3,000 thank-you from a state agency for participating in various traffic efforts.

Sheriff Terese Amazi accepted a lidar handheld radar unit during Tuesday’s Mower County board meeting from Shannon Swanson, the enforcement coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

“It’s a good tool to have,” Amazi said, noting it was not in her budget.

The Mower County Sheriff’s Office partners with the Austin Police Department to participate in various Toward Zero Deaths traffic enforcement periods. During these periods, grants fund overtime hours during peak times to target things like speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving.

Mower County Deputy Jamie Meyer holds a lidar unit donated to the Mower County Sheriff’s Office.  Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Mower County Deputy Jamie Meyer holds a lidar unit donated to the Mower County Sheriff’s Office.
Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

The sheriff’s office was picked to receive the quarterly thank-you from the state office. In October, the department issued 11 seatbelt citations and made eight DWI arrests during an enforcement period.

“That’s getting eight people off the road and what’s great about that is you can’t measure how many lives they may have saved during that time period,” Swanson said.

In 2015, the National Safety Council reported automobile crashes were the leading cause of death among people age 1 to 34, and crashes were the leading cause of deaths from unintentional injuries for all ages.

In Mower County, there were 22 serious injuries or fatalities on Mower County roads from 2013 to 2015.

The Austin Police Department is the lead agency for the local TZD grant, but the sheriff’s office is a contributing partner. But Austin Police Capt. Dave McKichan touted the strong working relationship between the APD and sheriff’s office.

“This is all about them today,” McKichan said. “Our sheriff’s department does a phenomenal job.”

“This is well deserved for their department,” he added.

Deputies Jamie Meyer, who coordinates Mower’s TZD, and Deputy John Bachman, who often works the overtime hours, attended the meeting, and Amazi thanked them for their work.

“We just do appreciate all the work you guys are doing,” Amazi said.